BARCELONA are reportedly ready to turn to youth in a bid to revive their prospects in LaLiga.
The Catalans are enduring a turbulent period under new boss Ronald Koeman, with Lionel Messi reportedly edging close to an exit as results on the pitch vary.
Mundo Deportivo claims Barcelona are now struggling to find enough transfer funds for a major squad rebuild due to the coronavirus pandemic.
And as a result, Koeman has now agreed to delve into the famous La Masia academy to unearth the next Messi, Xavi and Andres Iniesta, while also making the best of those already at his disposal.
Here, SunSport looks at six youngsters – both club-grown and signed from outside – who have been highlighted by Mundo Deportivo as ones to watch out for.
ANSU FATI – FORWARD
PROVING experience isn’t always necessarily needed, 18-year-old whizkid Fati has already become one of Barcelona’s most impressive players.
He scored eight goals in 33 games last season, and managed five in ten this term before suffering a knee injury ruling him out for four months.
Fati has broken a number of records for Barca already, becoming their youngest-ever goalscorer as well as second-youngest debutant.
And despite his tender age, Fati has also won four caps for Spain, becoming their youngest debutant and goalscorer too.
The stats show Fati is already outscoring Messi at the same age, and Barca showed just how valuable he is by handing the star a new contract with an eye-watering £376million release clause in September.
SERGINO DEST – DEFENDER
SIGNED for around £20m from Ajax over the summer, Dest arrived as a replacement for Wolves-bound Nelson Semedo.
The USA international, 20, was also wanted by Bayern but opted for Barca to link up with ex-teammate Frenkie de Jong.
Dest has shown glimpses of his unquestionable talent in six games as a marauding right-back.
And Koeman will be hoping he can add a few goals to his game just like predecessor Dani Alves.
PEDRI – MIDFIELDER
HE’S just 17 years old but Pedri is already making a big impact for his new club.
Signed from Las Palmas in 2019, Pedri linked up with Barcelona this summer and has already scored twice in ten games.
A versatile attacking midfielder, Pedri looks destined to become the team’s new playmaker as he evolves on the pitch.
And the way he has taken to LaLiga after spending last term in the second division shows Barca have a real gem on their hands, with the club giving Pedri a staggering £360m release clause.
KONRAD DE LA FUENTE – WINGER
A NEWLY capped USA star, De La Fuente has been at Barcelona since 2013.
He is regarded as a pacy wide-man capable of blasting past his marker.
De La Fuente, 19, is yet to make a senior appearance for the Catalans.
But three goals in nine games for the B side shows he is more than capable of making a mark when called upon.
ILAIX MORIBA – MIDFIELDER
A GIANT of a player with strength, technique and pace, Moriba could be the best of the lot.
Joining Barcelona in 2010, the 17 year old has made a name for himself in the youth divisions as a natural star.
Moriba netted a hat-trick against Real Madrid’s U19s when he was just 15, and was reportedly set to make his senior debut for Guinea before the coronavirus pandemic struck.
Moriba was wanted by Man City and Juventus when he was 16, but Barca ensured he remained one of their own by handing him a contract with a whopping £90m release clause.
ILIAS AKHOMACH – FORWARD
AT just 16 years of age, he is the youngest put forward as one of Koeman’s new jewels.
Akhomach is already playing for the U19s despite his age.
And his ability to play anywhere on the front line means there is a strong chance he could get a senior debut at some stage this season.
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